Friday, January 28, 2011

Science experiment

In Science class, we were fortunate to do a special, unforgettable experiment. 
We made Goat butter!

For about ten days, Emilia removed the cream from her goat's milk and was able to give us all a jar containing some cream. 
We then had to shake, shake and shake the cream for about 10 minutes.
The shaking initiates physical change of the cream – it separates the cream into butter and a liquid that we all know as buttermilk. 

Once, the butter was formed, we separated the buttermilk and rinsed the butter with water.
We then added a little bit of salt and mmmmmm... tasted our homemade butter on a piece of bread. Simply delicious!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

EFDM Press Herald

Since last fall, the school has its own newspaper. It is written by talented aspiring journalists during an after school club run by Didier. Its title was found during the first redaction meeting after intense brainstorming. In the club, children have varied responsibilities: choosing article topics, newspaper reports, interviews, taking photos, editorial, proof reading, image processing, layout…
They have all done a fantastic job for the past two issues, and there is a third coming up. The involvement and motivation of each journalist resulted in serious articles about school news or introducing people, as well as games for the last page. Long live the EFDM Press Herald!

Mens Sana In Corpore Sano

At L’Ecole Française du Maine we have always tried to follow the famous maxim by Juvénal: “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano” (“A healthy mind in a healthy body”), repeated by many pedagogues. The mind is naturally cultivated through bilingual education, the curriculum, music and arts. The school also offers a rich physical education program to develop healthy, balanced bodies. Through various activities such as athletics, team sports, swimming, mountain biking, cross country skiing and gross motor development in early grades, the children develop their skills as well as important values such as work, motivation, and a taste for effort!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Upcoming concert for Nathan Kolosko

Hello Everyone!
I have two concerts coming up in February.
Both of these concerts will feature all my own compositions. On February 11th, I will be joined by Carl Dimow on flute and Ben Noyes on cello. We will be premiering a new trio for guitar, flute and cello. Please read the press release bellow.

Tuesday February 8th 12:00 noon 2011
Noonday Concert Bates College

Friday February 11th 7:30 pm 2011
Portland Conservatory Faculty Concert
A program of all original works
With Carl Dimow - Flute & Ben Noyes - Cello

I hope to see you at one of these shows !!

Please visit my updated website with new publications and sound clips :

Press Release:
Portland based guitarist/composer Nathan Kolosko will be playing a program of all original works on Friday February 11th at the Portland Conservatory of Music. The program will include solo works for guitar as well as chamber music with flute and cello. Flutist Carl Dimow and cellist Ben Noyes will join Nathan in premiering his new trio based on Hungarian and Balkan folk music.
Nathan Kolosko has performed throughout the US, Europe and Asia. As a musician, Nathan is compelled to expand the voice of the guitar through composition, improvisation, and collaborations with both musicians and visual artists. He is currently collaborating with visual artist Ling-Wen Tsai on several inter-disciplinary projects, and performs regularly with flute player Carl Dimow as the kolosko-dimow duo.
Nathan has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including grants from the Allied Arts Foundation and D'Addario Strings. As a composer, Nathan has made numerous contributions to the repertoire for the guitar. His works are currently published by Doberman-Yppan & Productions D'Oz. In addition to being a performer and composer Nathan is a teacher dedicated to furthering the pedagogy of the guitar.

Press quotes:
"...such artistry, you may find yourself levitated a few inches off the floor ... the sound is both celestial and lively." - Portland Press Herald
"Great program... expertly played. Kolosko's playing is technically strong and musically
engaging." - American Record Guide
".. elegant phrasing and mastery of color - simply breathtaking."- Greater Boston Flute Association

Au menu cette semaine

Juliana L’Heureux: 'Zoom In' puts Maine history at your fingertips

School children from North School Portland line up in Miss Cobb's class
to be weighed in 1932
- Courtesy Maine Historical Society

January 19 - The Portland Press Herald - Juliana L’Heureux

The Maine Historical Society’s library in Portland is undergoing a state-of-the-art expansion.

It’s a physical and digital expansion.
 Nicholas Noyes is head of library services at the historical society, a position he has held for 22 years.

Noyes was delighted to provide a tour of the library’s modern facilities which are home to many rare source documents, more than 150,000 photographs, old maps and genealogical information about Maine and northern New England.

Of course, information about Maine’s Franco-Americans and Indian populations is among the historic archives. “I love my work with the historical society,” says Noyes.

In addition to archival information dating back hundreds of years, the library also maintains a website called Maine History Online, drawing on digital images from the Maine Memory Network. 

A special program called “Zoom In” launched Maine History Online. “Zoom In” provides access to physical and digital material from 40 historical organizations in Maine, organized by the society. “Zoom In” is on exhibit online until May 29.

Originally, the brick building located behind the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow home on Congress Street was opened in 1907 as the Maine Historical Society’s library. In 2007, a badly needed upgrade of the original library was launched. During renovations, the library was relocated. In March 2009, the expanded library reopened to the public in its original location. 

Among the modern facilities included in the expansion are computers with Internet access for history researchers and access to climate-controlled storage space where hundreds of thousands of source documents are individually indexed and stored. Most of the library’s vast archives are cataloged in fireproof library shelves. 

Noyes pointed out several framed antique maps. An English-commissioned map, dated 1817, hangs in the climate control storage room. It was used by the English during the border disputes between Maine and Canada, showing the St. Croix River as a boundary line.

“Even with this map, neither the Americans nor the British agreed on which river the St. Croix really was,” explained Noyes. Of course, the Americans commissioned a map of their own, but Maine became a state in 1820, without an official northern boundary. This dispute was finally settled in 1842 with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

The border dispute notwithstanding, northern Maine remains a tightly knit community, especially in the St. John Valley. Despite the international boundary, many families on both sides of the border continue to speak French as their primary language.

Photographs in the library are cataloged by where they originated. There’s a catalog box for almost every Maine town and city. Among the thousands of pictures is one taken of the portrait of the Indian lady Sarah Molasses. She was the daughter of Molly Molasses, known as a medicine woman and healer of the Wabanaki Indians. The original Molasses portrait was painted in 1830. Catalog information describes the original Molasses portrait as being with the Tarratine Club artifacts, a club near Bangor founded by former Vice President Hannibal Hamlin (incorporated in 1900). 

Online researchers can access the library’s vast digital collection by computer.

“Zoom In” is an easy-to-access digital exhibit, in which each entry reads like a storybook accompanied by labeled photographs. 

In the Franco-American collection is an online educational story with photographs about Lewiston’s Les Raquetteurs, a snow shoe club named “Le Montagnard,” founded in 1924, by French Canadian immigrant Louis Gagne.

Noyes says historic documents specific to Maine are welcome by the historical society’s library. Old photographs are best archived when the pictures are identified by place, including, when possible, the names of the people in the pictures.

Information about the Maine Historical Society and Maine History online is available at the website

Juliana L'Heureux

One Turkey Run
Topsham, Maine 04086


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Upcoming Events at the Franco-American Heritage Center

Here is a listing of the Franco Center’s upcoming events.
The 2011 Celtic Series has been announced as well as other exciting events like the Mardi Gras with JimmyJo and the Jumbol'Ayuhs, Terry and the Telstars and the Rockin' Recons!

Piano Series # 3 - Henry Kramer
Piano Recital
Saturday, January 22 at 7:30 PM
$16 Reserved Seating; $14 Seniors; FREE for Students 21 and Under!
Click Here for More Information

F.A.B. Dance Showcase
FAHC & Bates College Dance Showcase
Saturday, February 12 at 7:30 PM
$14 General Admission; $12 Students & Seniors
Click Here for More Information

The Girls of LA
Pop – Vibrant Vocal Entertainment
Saturday, February 26 at 7:30 PM
$16 Reserved Seating; $14 Students and Seniors
Click Here for More Information

Irish Descendants
Tuesday, February 22 at 7 PM
$20 General Admission; $10 Children 12 and Under
Click Here for More Information

More upcoming events:
Piano Series #4 – George Lopez – February 19, 2011
New York Funk Exchange – Funk Music – April 8, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

How Handwriting Trains the Brain

Document created by Clarisse Bizot & Didier Carribou

Extract from a child's writing notebook in first grade at L'Ecole Française du Maine

How Handwriting Trains the Brain

by G. Bounds-The Wall Street Journal-Oct 5, 2010

Ask preschooler Zane Pike to write his name or the alphabet, then watch this 4-year-old's stubborn side kick in. He spurns practice at school and tosses aside workbooks at home. But Angie Pike, Zane's mom, persists, believing that handwriting is a building block to learning.

She's right. Using advanced tools such as magnetic resonance imaging, researchers are finding that writing by hand is more than just a way to communicate. The practice helps with learning letters and shapes, can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.

It's not just children who benefit. Adults studying new symbols, such as Chinese characters, might enhance recognition by writing the characters by hand, researchers say. Some physicians say handwriting could be a good cognitive exercise for baby boomers working to keep their minds sharp as they age.

Studies suggest there's real value in learning and maintaining this ancient skill, even as we increasingly communicate electronically via keyboards big and small. Indeed, technology often gets blamed for handwriting's demise. But in an interesting twist, new software for touch-screen devices, such as the iPad, is starting to reinvigorate the practice.

Most schools still include conventional handwriting instruction in their primary-grade curriculum, but today that amounts to just over an hour a week, according to Zaner-Bloser Inc., one of the nation's largest handwriting-curriculum publishers. Even at institutions that make it a strong priority, such as the private Brearley School in New York City, "some parents say, 'I can't believe you are wasting a minute on this,'" says Linda Boldt, the school's head of learning skills.

Recent research illustrates how writing by hand engages the brain in learning. During one study at Indiana University published this year, researchers invited children to man a "spaceship," actually an MRI machine using a specialized scan called "functional" MRI that spots neural activity in the brain. The kids were shown letters before and after receiving different letter-learning instruction. In children who had practiced printing by hand, the neural activity was far more enhanced and "adult-like" than in those who had simply looked at letters.

"It seems there is something really important about manually manipulating and drawing out two-dimensional things we see all the time," says Karin Harman James, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Indiana University who led the study.

Adults may benefit similarly when learning a new graphically different language, such as Mandarin, or symbol systems for mathematics, music and chemistry, Dr. James says. For instance, in a 2008 study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, adults were asked to distinguish between new characters and a mirror image of them after producing the characters using pen-and-paper writing and a computer keyboard. The result: For those writing by hand, there was stronger and longer-lasting recognition of the characters' proper orientation, suggesting that the specific movements memorized when learning how to write aided the visual identification of graphic shapes.

Other research highlights the hand's unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas. Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington, says handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter, whereas keyboarding involves selecting a whole letter by touching a key.

She says pictures of the brain have illustrated that sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.

And one recent study of hers demonstrated that in grades two, four and six, children wrote more words, faster, and expressed more ideas when writing essays by hand versus with a keyboard.

Even in the digital age, people remain enthralled by handwriting for myriad reasons—the intimacy implied by a loved one's script, or what the slant and shape of letters might reveal about personality. During actress Lindsay Lohan's probation violation court appearance this summer, a swarm of handwriting experts proffered analysis of her blocky courtroom scribbling. "Projecting a false image" and "crossing boundaries," concluded two on celebrity news and entertainment site Beyond identifying personality traits through handwriting, called graphology, some doctors treating neurological disorders say handwriting can be an early diagnostic tool.

"Some patients bring in journals from the years, and you can see dramatic change from when they were 55 and doing fine and now at 70," says P. Murali Doraiswamy, a neuroscientist at Duke University. "As more people lose writing skills and migrate to the computer, retraining people in handwriting skills could be a useful cognitive exercise."

In high schools, where laptops are increasingly used, handwriting still matters. In the essay section of SAT college-entrance exams, scorers unable to read a student's writing can assign that portion an "illegible" score of 0.

Even legible handwriting that's messy can have its own ramifications, says Steve Graham, professor of education at Vanderbilt University. He cites several studies indicating that good handwriting can take a generic classroom test score from the 50th percentile to the 84th percentile, while bad penmanship could tank it to the 16th. "There is a reader effect that is insidious," Dr. Graham says. "People judge the quality of your ideas based on your handwriting."

Handwriting-curriculum creators say they're seeing renewed interest among parents looking to hone older children's skills—or even their own penmanship. Nan Barchowsky, who developed the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting method to ease transition from print-script to joined cursive letters, says she's sold more than 1,500 copies of "Fix It … Write" in the past year.

Some high-tech allies also are giving the practice an unexpected boost through hand-held gadgets like smartphones and tablets. Dan Feather, a graphic designer and computer consultant in Nashville, Tenn., says he's "never adapted well to the keypads on little devices." Instead, he uses a $3.99 application called "WritePad" on his iPhone. It accepts handwriting input with a finger or stylus, then converts it to text for email, documents or Twitter updates.

And apps are helping Zane Pike—the 4-year-old who refused to practice his letters. The Cabot, Ark., boy won't put down his mom's iPhone, where she's downloaded a $1.99 app called "abc PocketPhonics." The program instructs Zane to draw letters with his finger or a stylus; correct movements earn him cheering pencils.

"He thinks it's a game," says Angie Pike.

Gwendolyn Bounds The Wall Street Journal-Oct 5, 2010

Thursday, January 13, 2011

L' hiver dans la plaine - Verlaine

Paul-Marie Verlaine (30 March 1844 – 8 January 1896) was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest French poets of all time.

The poem by Verlaine that the 4th, 5th and 6th graders are learning:


Dans l’interminable
Ennui de la plaine,
La neige incertaine
Luit comme du sable.

Le ciel est de cuivre
Sans lueur aucune.
On croirait voir vivre
Et mourir la lune.

Comme des nuées
Flottent gris les chênes
Des forêts prochaines
Parmi les buées.

Le ciel est de cuivre
Sans lueur aucune.
On croirait voir vivre
Et mourir la lune.

Corneille poussive,
Et vous, les loups maigres,
Par ces bises aigres
Quoi donc vous arrive ?

Dans l'interminable
Ennui de la plaine,
La neige incertaine
Luit comme du sable.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

La galette des rois

“La galette des Rois” (the cake or "wafer" of the Kings) is a cake celebrating the Epiphany and traditionally sold and consumed a few days before and after January 6th. In modern France, the cakes can be found in most bakeries during the month of January.

A figurine, “la fève”, which can represent anything from a car to a cartoon character, is hidden in the cake and the person who finds the trinket in their slice becomes king for the day. Originally, “la fève” was literally a broad bean (fève), but were replaced in 1870 by a variety of figurines made out of porcelain. These figurines have become popular collectibles and can often be bought separately.

A special thanks to Emilia, who prepared the galette with the ingredients that Beth and Willy brought back from France and found porcelain figurines. The celebration was enjoyed by all. To ensure a random distribution of the cake shares, several students placed themselves under the table and named the recipient of the cake slice indicated by Emilia and Elodie LeNezet-Soule.

Chouette, on va en récréation !

Playground Updates

The new playground has been delivered to Freeport and is currently being assembled at Freeport Services warehouse. Special thanks to Doug Piehl and his talented crew for their generous assistance with this project. Children from the South-Freeport community will enjoy the tree-house playground for years to come. The School is looking for tax-deductible donations towards this project. Any contribution, large or small will make a difference.

To make a donation, please go to the School's website or click here to download the donation form:

Thank you for your support!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New additions to the school library

Martine is the title character in a series of books for children written in French by the Belgians Marcel Marlier and Gilbert Delahaye. and edited by Casterman. The first one, Martine à la ferme (Martine At the Farm), was published in 1954, followed by over 50 other books, which have been translated into many different languages.

The school library now has 30 stories of Martine on CD so that parents and children can read along to these wonderful books together. The illustrations are beautiful, and each book focuses on a specific topic, rich in vocabulary. For example, when Martine goes to ride a pony, dances ballet, goes to the pool for a swim lesson, or goes camping, a child learns all of the rich vocabulary associated with that topic in context through the story. Please check them out, we're sure you and your child will enjoy them!

Dr. Suzuki's book "Nurtured by Love" provides a wonderful insight into the method. Below you will find a few excerpts. Thanks to Dee Dee Oehrtmann for suggesting this book be made available to parents considering Suzuki.

Oh-why, Japanese children can all speak Japanese! The thought suddenly struck me with amazement. In fact, all children throughout the world speak their native tongues with the utmost fluency. Any and every Japanese child- all speak Japanese without difficulty. Does that not show a starling talent? How, by what means, does this come about? I had to control an impulse to shout my joy over this discovery. This happened about thirty years ago, when I was thirty three or thirty fours old. Following up the thought that stuck me so forcibly on that day, and trying to find a solution, soon became the basic purpose of my life.

How does this surprising fact come about?

The father asked me to teach his son violin. At the time I didn’t know how to train such a small child, or what to teach him. I didn’t have such experience. What kind of violin training would be good for a four-year old? I thought about it from morning to night. The answer come from my discovery.

At that time, three of my brothers and I had just formed the Suzuki Quartet. One day, when we were practicing at the house of my younger brother, it hit me like a flash: all Japanese children speak Japanese! This thought struck me like a flash of light in a dark night. Since they all speak Japanese so easily and fluently, there must be a secret; and this must be training. Indeed, all children everywhere in the world are brought up by perfect educational method: their mother tongue. Why not apply this method to other faculties? I felt I had made a tremendous discovery. If a child cannot do his arithmetic, it is said that his intelligence is below average. Yet he can speak the difficult Japanese language – or his own native language – very well. Isn’t this something to ponder and think about? In my opinion, the child who cannot do arithmetic is not below the average in intelligence; it is the educational system that is wrong. His ability or talent simply has not been developed properly. It is astonishing that no one discovered this before, although the situation clearly has existed throughout human history.

Ability training is the secret

1. If the mother-tongue method of education were used in schools today, the results would far surpass those obtained by present methods. For instance, we often hear: “Here is a child who is not very bright; he was born with low intelligence.” But how do we account for the splendid capacity of children to speak Japanese? Do we search for a better method of training? Furthermore, a child is judged only from five or six years of age on. Nobody seems to care what happened before – what kind of education the child had from early infancy.

2. All children skillfully reared reach a high educational level but such rearing must start from the day of birth. Here, to my mind, lies the key to the fuller development of man’s potentials and abilities.

When I was asked to teach four-year-old Toshiya, I thought – and kept thinking – How? Finally the mother-tongue method occurred to me and I felt that it contained all that was necessary. For thirty years now I have been pleading with people to believe that all children can be well educated, and not to turn away those who drop behind in learning. I named my method Talent Education, and began an educational movement in which children dropping behind or struggling to get along are not turned away. The day of my startling discovery became for me the starting point in my search for human potentials. And how did I fare? With glances back at the past and full of hope for the future, I would like to tell the story.

Adult education

L’Ecole Française du Maine offers multiple options for adults seeking to improve their speaking and writing skills, or simply trying to keep up with their children! For more information, please call (207) 865 3308.

Group Classes are starting soon!

A session of 15 weekly classes that will meet from 6pm to 7:30pm. The curriculum consists of oral and written comprehension, and oral and written expression. The French textbook “Campus” and workbook will be required and can be purchased through EFDM. Classwork will cover: grammatical points with explanations and application exercises, vocabulary, phonetics and repetition of different sounds, conversation and practice of dialogue between the students, and cultural experience.

Group classes are offered at three different levels: 

Beginner 1: On Mondays: first class on January 24, 2011

Beginner 2: On Tuesdays: first class on February 1, 2011

Beginner 3: On Tuesdays: first class on February 1, 2011

Advanced 1: On Mondays: first class on January 24, 2011

Cost: $375 per person, or $700 a couple.

Exposition des GS-CP:

The K-1 class children are currently exhibiting their "cameleon" artwork in the hallway of the school.
They were all given a small piece of paper with a design. They glued it on a sheet of paper. Then they used markers to continue the original design, expand it, and ultimately hide it within their artwork. When they were finished, they used black paint to cover any white space remaining.
Can you find the original design?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

French Film Festival Offers Web Version

Cineastes won’t have to leave their computers to see the work of emerging French filmmakers.

UniFrance, a government-sponsored association of French Film industry professionals, in partnership with AlloCiné, an online Paris film directory, have organized a new online event called My French Film Festival and are offering it around the world for two weeks starting Jan. 14. Featuring 10 full-length films and 10 shorts, all recently released in France by emerging directors, the festival will make them available individually or as a group. Visitors can go to to stream a feature film for $2.60; a short for $1.30 or the entire slate for $18.40. The festival will be judged and voted on by the public, bloggers and critics, with the winner receiving a noncash award to be announced at the end of the festival, on Jan. 29.